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The Teapot Trick Law 23?

#21 User is online   lamford 

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Posted 2016-January-19, 06:54

View PostCyberyeti, on 2016-January-19, 05:12, said:

Your odds are out, using empty spaces. N has 11-15 S has more, so the odds of S having the A (and J) balancing it out and making leading the K fatal (Q97x/AJxx for example) are improved, but I think this whole argument is really tenuous. I understand the point you're making, but this is not a good example as the K lead carries too much risk.

If you're going to take any action, it should be to rule the board unplayable which I guess is what you'd do if an errant child came up behind the player, grabbed the K and threw it on the table.

I think if West had KT987 of spades, then the argument would indeed be stronger. And I think the board should have been declared unplayable, as there is no difference between an errant child and an errant wait-person for this purpose.

If West had started with Kxx of spades, and Six Spades had been on the finesse, would we have given SB his contract? No way!
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#22 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2016-January-19, 10:07

View Postlamford, on 2016-January-18, 18:12, said:

You are missing the point. The irregularity is exposing the king of spades, not touching the teapot. It is clear that anyone could have been aware that exposing the king of spades could cause declarer to bid Six Spades and run into a 5-0 break. Even RR.

But how could he know that the card he would drop accidentally would actually be the king of spades? Basically, I think it's ridiculous to apply this law to any accidental infraction.

This seems like a Probst-cheat issue, ignoring the teapot and treating the accidental exposure equivalently to if it had been done intentionally.

#23 User is online   lamford 

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Posted 2016-January-19, 11:17

View Postbarmar, on 2016-January-19, 10:07, said:

But how could he know that the card he would drop accidentally would actually be the king of spades? Basically, I think it's ridiculous to apply this law to any accidental infraction.

This seems like a Probst-cheat issue, ignoring the teapot and treating the accidental exposure equivalently to if it had been done intentionally.

This is indeed very similar to what I, and John Probst who is recovering well from a stroke I am pleased to say, regard as the archetypal Probst-cheat scenario. Someone with Kxx of trumps plays one small card and drops the other when the declarer leads the queen from QJxxx opposite AT9xx in dummy. Now rising is hugely with the odds. The majority on here, as I recall, would adjust, as would Max Bavin when asked at the time.

You might ask "how could he know that the card he would drop accidentally from his hand would be another small trump". That is not the test. The test is "could he have known that dropping a small trump would gain". Law 23 is framed so that we don't have to decide whether he did something accidentally or not. Just that he "could have been aware".
'When I write a Law,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'
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#24 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2016-January-20, 09:28

Good. I was wondering how John is doing. Glad to hear he's doing well.

Anybody "could have been" aware of just about anything.
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#25 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2016-January-20, 12:19

View Postblackshoe, on 2016-January-20, 09:28, said:

Anybody "could have been" aware of just about anything.

Which is why I maintain that the lawmakers never intended that wording to be interpreted so liberally. I think it means something like "could have a significant expectation", because otherwise anything is possible and the qualification is meaningless.

#26 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2016-January-22, 09:51

I've decided that I was way too harsh earlier. Mea culpa

This hypo isn't stupid, the whole point of it is to expose the problem of the vagueness of the "could have been aware" law. SB loves laws like this, because he's (she? it?) an expert at interpreting them to his advantage.

It's clear to us that it was never intended to apply to the teapot trick, but where do we draw the line? Without specific guidance, this law essentially legitimizes the Probst-cheat philosophy.

#27 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2016-January-22, 12:26

To me the line is "could the Probst Cheat do it without giving the game away?" and "ooh, it looks if I could be burned, it will be to my advantage after hearing 'queen's in LHO's hand if anywhere' to show that the K is in the pocket, even if it becomes a MPC and I'm forced to lead it against 6 or 6NT, so let's figure out some way to drop it 'by accident'" goes way too far down the path of "if the Probst Cheat can pull this off, why doesn't he use his brilliance and card manipulation skills to win every Fast Pairs that exists, or be a professional card magician?" for my BS-o-meter.

On the other side of the coin to me, clearly, is the "bar partner to play in Blackwood"; potentially even the "create a mPC that 'gives the game away'" issue; potentially even the "create a MPC that forces partner to make the winning defence" - but that's closer to the edge, as working out that declarer can't not take the bait is a challenge.
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